ASC's Challenge Showcase
The American Security Challenge (ASC) is an NSOC program that pro-actively scouts innovation communities for technologies with cyber, IT and energy capabilities matching the requirements of customers/users including the federal Defense and Intelligence Community, private sector Critical Infrastructure Owners and Fortune 500 companies. This increases the probability of new technologies getting to market while decreasing the time/cost it takes to get to market.
We have enjoyed tremendous success drilling into untapped entrepreneur communities finding emerging growth tech companies before they have reached the radar of our clients. After separating the "pretenders from the contenders", the companies we have found have over $800M in revenues, acquisition transactions and capital raised. 22% of our recommendations have been acquired and have operations in 70+ countries.
In 2007, Mr. London was approached by the Department of Homeland Security to organize and run a technology competition. The result? The American Security Challenge was born, taking place at the end of the annual Homeland Security S&T Stakeholders Conference in 2008.
Mr. London sought a "shiny object", a tangible incentive and reward for entrepreneurs seek, and partnered with an investor to provide a $100,000 investment to a winner they selected. ASC received 75 submissions resulting in six finalists.
The honorable Tom Ridge, original Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was nominated and received the first Patriot Award-- establishing a very high bar for future Patriot Award winners. Keynote speaker Jay Cohen, DHS S&T Undersecretary, indicated their appreciation for ASC's mission of moving innovation to market by connecting the supply and demand for innovative security technologies.
Following the Challenge's first success, DHS S&T invited ASC back for the next year and what started as a favor to DHS became a branded repeatable program.
In 2009, Mr. London leveraged ASC's previous success and sought greater "shiny objects" for awards--securing commitments from Chart Venture Partners to provide a Series A investment (between $250K to $2.5M) to a finalist of their choice, as well as commitments from Alion Science and Technology Corporation to team with Challengers meeting their criteria.
The new incentives helped attract 200 companies to the 2009 Challenge netting over $10M in teaming agreements, sub-contracts and investor term sheets. Delighting another packed house with an encore appearance, Governor Ridge keynoted the event and presented the 2009 Patriot Award to Admiral James Loy.
With a greatly increased stakeholder community beyond DHS S&T, including the defense and intelligence community at large, ASC upped the ante with Pilot Award Partners.
Our Pilot Award Partners agreed to test drive Challenge winners of their choice in a pilot program: within their or a client's enterprise. They identified the parameters of a "successful" pilot and further agreed if the pilot was successful there was a contracting (licensing, investment, mentor-protégé program, reseller, or other strategic partnership) opportunity to work together in. Pilots were awarded at Ratheon, Arcsight, FBI, DOJ, APL, CBP, IRS and more.
In addition, Investor Award Partners similarly agreed to advance Challenge winners they selected to the top of their due diligence pipeline for possible investment.
Ultimately, fourteen winners were selected who presented to an invitation-only audience. The 2010 program also maintained the legacy of blue chip Patriot Award winners naming National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander as the recipient.
After 2011, the American Security Challenge grew from a once a year competition to a full time tech scouting service. Check out Tech Scouting for more details.